Song (“We Have Bathed…”)

By female voices.
We have bathed, where none have seen us,
   In the lake and in the fountain,
      Underneath the charmed statue
Of the timid, bending Venus,
   When the water-nymphs were counting
In the waves the stars of night,
      And those maidens started at you,
Your limbs shone through so soft and bright.
      But no secrets dare we tell,
         For thy slaves unlace thee,
         And he, who shall embrace thee,
      Waits to try thy beauty’s spell.

By male voices.
We have crowned thee queen of women,
   Since love’s love, the rose, hath kept her
      Court within thy lips and blushes,
And thine eye, in beauty swimming,
   Kissing, we rendered up the sceptre,
At whose touch the startled soul
      Like an ocean bounds and gushes,
And spirits bend at thy controul.
      But no secrets dare we tell,
         For thy slaves unlace thee,
         And he, who shall embrace thee,
      Is at hand, and so farewell.

[Kelsall, 1851]